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Union members demand Labour divorce

UNION members are sick of leaders pumping millions into the Labour party — and are demanding they sever ALL links with Gordon Brown.

A whopping 71 per cent believe a complete divorce from Labour is the only answer, according to a News of the World ICM poll today.

It set out to probe whether trade unions are really relevant today, and if they’re doing what their members want.
Last week, we revealed how Britain’s union barons are plotting a £75million bid to seize control of the Labour party.

And last year the unions pumped £14m into keeping it afloat. However, 73 per cent of members say they do NOT want their cash to be handed over to Labour, describing the party as “unimportant”.

Labour currently has debts which top £11.5m and would go bankrupt tomorrow if the unions cut off their funding levy which fills the party coffers.

Our poll shows unions still play an important role for their members, according to 81 per cent of those questioned. However, the population as a whole are less convinced — just 54 per cent believe unions are relevant today and 41 per cent say belonging to one has made no difference to them.

Membership has halved over the past 30 years, dropping to just over 6.6m last year. But the public are split about the cause of the decline. Many say unions are becoming irrelevant because they call too many strikes (38 per cent). But others blame poor value for money (25 per cent).

Last night the Tories said they would introduce new laws to scrap the automatic union funding of Labour. At present unions need only ask members once every ten years if they want to continue contributing.

If they do not respond, the payments to the party continue. Under the Tory plans, union members would have to “opt in” to the scheme.

ICM Research interviewed 4,090 people aged 18+ online on Jan 29 — Feb 7, 2010. Respondents were selected at random from the ICM NewVista panel and data has been weighted to a profile of all adults. Among those polled were 583 union members.



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